Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThis is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.Find the past "On This Day in History" here. August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap[...]
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We Are Respectable Negroes: Mitt Romney ? God's plan for America is class inequality.
Man Boobz: Women who hit the age of 40 without a husband and kids deserve to be miserable.
The Incidental Economist: They're stealing my health care!
Burlsblog: A message to seniors from Mitt Romney (video).
Guest post by Batocchio. Email tips to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.
According to Addicting Info, a Mississippi school has arranged for suspensions to be served in prison–a real prison, where children serve alongside hardened criminals who are in for armed robbery, drug distribution, etc. It’s not exactly a surprise to find that a breakdown of who gets sent to prison for school infractions seems to depend [...]Related posts:
How Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard Came Up With Their Big Ideas (h/t Spocko)
Big ideas. I genuinely believe that what makes America great is our big ideas. But not every one hits it out of the park. We Americans are also responsible for some serious clunker ideas. Unfortunately, in the eyes of our corporate media, clunker ideas--ones that have already been shown unworkable--get air time with as much validation as the good ones. So Ayn Rand's delicious plan to make people glorify selfishness stays as a legitimate framework while we liberals fight to remind people how the New Deal was an incredibly successful government program that raised millions of people out of poverty. We talk about how Paul Ryan, a supply-sider Rand devotee is "bold" and a Very Serious Person in economic thought, but we struggle to find a Keynesian to argue for more economic equity. Some days, it looks like the only big ideas that get discussed are the ones that were created to purposefully be as outlandish as those of Ayn and Ron's above.
ABC's "This Week" _ Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign; Kevin Madden, adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign; Special Panel to discuss "Is the U.S. Headed Toward Bankruptcy?" with Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; former TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky; former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee; Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist; and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - Govs. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., and Bob McDonnell, R-Va.; NBC?s Chuck Todd; Atlanta?s Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed; Republican nominee and Tea Party backed candidate for the U.S. Senate in Texas, Republican Ted Cruz; the Washington Post?s E.J. Dionne; and the Wall Street Journal?s Peggy Noonan.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Dan Rather, HDNet; David Ignatius, The Washington Post; Gloria Borger, CNN; Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Norquist; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress. Panel: CBS Political Director John Dickerson, the Washington Post's Nia Malika-Henderson, Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, the New York Timess. Kim Barker of ProPublica.
MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" - Michael Grunwald, Time Magazine Senior National Correspondent and Author of ?The New New Deal: The Hidden History of Change in the Obama Era;? Sam Seder, Host of ?The Majority Report? and Co-Host of ?Ring of Fire;? Maya Wiley, Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion; Ari Berman, Political Correspondent for The Nation and Author of ?Herding Donkeys;? Judith Browne- Dianis, Co-Director of the Advancement Project; Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.)
MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" - Jessica Beals, Actress in ?Lauren;? Dan Dicker, CNBC Contributor; Peter Goodman, Business Editor at Huffington Post; Lila Leff of Chicago?s Umoja Student Development Corporation; Julia Jimenez, NYC teacher and writer of FeministTeacher.com; Derrell Bradford, Executive Editor of Better Education for Kids
CNN's "State of the Union" - Cutter; Eric Fehrnstrom, adviser to Romney's campaign; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. Panel: CNN Political Director Mark Preston and USA Today?s Jackie Kucinich.
CNN's "Reliable Sources" - Erin McPike of RealClearPolitics, Politico?s Jonathan Martin, and George Washington University journalism professor, Steve Roberts on Paul Ryan vice presidential selection; Current TV?s David Shuster and GBTV?s Amy Holmes on partisan divide; Bob Schieffer on debates; Gail Sheehyon the legacy of former Cosmopolitan magazine editor, Helen Gurley Brown,
"Fox News Sunday" _ Ed Gillespie, adviser to Romney's campaign; Robert Gibbs, adviser to Obama's campaign.
So what's catching your eye this morning?
NBC's David Gregory muddied the waters on the Medicare debate, saying that President Obama "claims that he would extend the solvency of Medicare eight years until 2024." However, this is not just a claim put forth by the Obama campaign; the Medicare Board of Trustees has estimated that Medicare will remain solvent until 2024 thanks to the health care law.
David Gregory: Obama "Claims That He Would Extend The Solvency Of Medicare Eight Years Until 2024." Discussing Obama's Medicare plan, Meet the Press host David Gregory said that "there's been so much noise and back and forth on Medicare," adding that he would "try to boil it down." Gregory then stated:
GREGORY: Let me start with the president's approach [to Medicare] and I want to put it up on the screen for our viewers, so we can have a basic understanding of this. The president wants to leave the program in place the way it is. It's a defined benefit program. He does -- already passed under the health care law -- will reduce payments to hospitals, to health care providers, and private insurers to the tune of $716 billion. You've heard that figure a lot this week. And he claims that he would extend the solvency of Medicare eight years until 2024. [NBC, Meet the Press, 8/19/12]
Obama Spokesman: "President Obama Extended The Solvency Of Medicare By 8 Years By Passing The Affordable Care Act." As Politico reported, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Obama "doesn't just talk about Medicare solvency -- he actually did something, and he did it in a way that enhances seniors' benefits." LaBolt added: "President Obama extended the solvency of Medicare by 8 years by passing the Affordable Care Act, and his budget would add another two years to its lifetime." [Politico, 8/15/12]
Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services: "Without The Affordable Care Act, The HI Trust Fund Would Expire ... In 2016." In a press release announcing its 2012 Medicare Trustees report, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wrote that "[w]ithout the Affordable Care Act, the HI Trust Fund would expire ... in 2016":
The Medicare Trustees Report released today shows that the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is expected to remain solvent until 2024, the same as last year's estimate, but action is needed to secure its long-term future. In 2011, the HI Trust Fund expenditures were lower than expected.
Without the Affordable Care Act, the HI Trust Fund would expire 8 years earlier, in 2016. The law provides important tools to control costs over the long run such as changing the way Medicare pays providers to reward efficient, quality care. These efforts to reform the healthcare delivery system are not factored into the Trustees projections as many of the initiatives are just launching.
"The Trustees Report tells us that while Medicare is stable for now, we have a lot of work ahead of us to guarantee its future," said Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "The Affordable Care Act is giving CMS the ability to do this work, with tools to lower costs, fight fraud, and change incentives so that Medicare pays for coordinated, quality care and not the number of services." [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 4/23/12]
NY Times: "Since The Passage Of The Health Care Law ... The Medicare Trustees Have Shifted The Projected Date Of Insolvency To 2024 From 2016." On July 6, The New York Times reported that "[s]ince the passage of the health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare trustees have shifted the projected date of insolvency to 2024 from 2016":
The Congressional Budget Office and the chief actuary for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, Richard S. Foster, have concluded that the $500 billion in savings would extend the solvency of Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund. Since the passage of the health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare trustees have shifted the projected date of insolvency to 2024 from 2016.
Mr. Foster, in this year's report by the trustees, wrote that "the Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook." [The New York Times, 7/6/12]
Wash. Post: "Repealing Obamacare Cuts Would Hasten Insolvency." In an August 16 post on The Washington Post's Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff wrote, "The health care law extended the solvency of Medicare's Trust Fund. If the program pays hospitals less, each dollar stretches a little bit further. Earlier this year, the independent Medicare Board of Trustees estimated that with these cuts the trust fund would remain solvent through 2024." She continued:
Without those cuts, however, the budget gets a little tighter. Medicare keeps paying providers at the same rates it does now, but each dollar buys less. And that means, according to these trustees, that the trust fund would no longer be able to cover Medicare's costs as soon as 2016.
"Simply undoing the cuts would restore higher payments to those service providers," Alonso-Zalidvar writes. "And that would cause Medicare to spend money faster."
It's worth pointing out that this wouldn't be exactly the same thing as Medicare going "broke" -- Congress could always allocate additional funds to cover the program. They have pretty reliably done so when previous trustee reports suggested that insolvency might be near.
What it does tell us is this: Medicare would have more trouble covering its bills without the Affordable Care Act's cuts than with them. [The Washington Post, Wonkblog, 8/16/12]
CBPP: "Health Reform Has Improved Program's Financing." In a report titled, "Medicare Is Not 'Bankrupt' Health Reform Has Improved Program's Financing," the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that "Medicare's financing challenges would be significantly greater without the health reform law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), which substantially improved the program's financial outlook." CBPP continued:
Repealing the Affordable Care Act, a course of action promoted by some who simultaneously claim that the program is approaching "bankruptcy," would make Medicare's financial situation much worse.
The 2012 report of Medicare's trustees finds that Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund will remain solvent -- that is, able to pay 100 percent of the costs of the hospital insurance coverage that Medicare provides -- through 2024; at that point, the payroll taxes and other revenue deposited in the trust fund will still be sufficient to pay 87 percent of Medicare hospital insurance costs. (The Medicare hospital insurance program is considered insolvent when revenues and trust fund balances will not cover 100 percent of projected costs.) Over the next 75 years, revenue will cover an average of 74 percent of Medicare's hospital insurance costs. This shortfall will need to be closed through the provision of additional revenues, program changes that slow the growth in costs, or most likely both. But the Medicare hospital insurance will not run out of all financial resources and cease to operate after 2024, as the "bankruptcy" term may suggest. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/24/12, emphasis original]
On Sunday Support Grows in Germany for Vote on Giving Up Power to European Bloc? By MELISSA EDDYIt has become the buzzword of the summer in Berlin: referendum. The foreign and finance ministers as well as opposition leaders have all come out in favor[...]
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I wanted to call this post Sunday with the Senators: Post Ayn Rand Paul Ryan Gosling-Ling Edition, but I didn't have enough room. Now you know. Apologies to all of you who have contacted Matt and me about the fact that we haven't kept up. Matt has assured me that once I get this post up, he'll start working on the overall chart. You can see where I believe we're at right now.
Yes, I believe we hold the Senate, and all I can say is thank you Mittens for picking Eddie Munster. Let's get started.
I have Maine as purple because Angus King is certainly going to win, and then he's going to decide with which party to caucus. While he has said he will consider not caucusing, it's not a reasonable position for him to maintain in DC. He can choose a side and then vote against it, but if he wants to serve on a committee, he's going to have to pick. I believe that King will choose the Democratic side for several reasons. First, we'll give him the option of voting against us with only minor punishment, while McConnell will not. Second, he will not be the 50th vote to either side. Finally, and most important, he's not a lock-step anything, and that's what the GOP would require.
It may be odd to some of you that I kept Wisconsin as Democratic instead of toss-up since Tommy Thompson is so popular, and I personally like him. But the problem, I believe, is that Tommy is not conservative for the far right wing contingent, which may turn out for native son Paul Ryan, but will split tickets or just skip that line as the primary was so hard fought. Further, in the end, I think that Wisconsinites have been through enough and will vote to keep Kohl's seat blue, and will certainly accord their Electoral College votes to the president.
While other people have my Democratic Leans as toss-ups, I have them really leaning blue. That's Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, and North Dakota. Once again, THANKS MITTENS!!!! If you've watched Soledad O'Brien on CNN aka Fox Light go after every single GOP talking head who has dared to say that "premium support" is not a voucher, you can see where things are going. By the time of the fall debates, the President will have made clear to everyone who pays attention that Romney/Ryan and their ilk will give people a check so paltry it shall not cover the basic premium for Medicare. His coattails in these leaning states will grow in stature. Further, the Democratic Senatorial candidates in these seven states have been all over the Medicare debate even before the choice of Eddie Munster.
That gets us to holding the Senate even if we lose Hawaii, since I believe we get Massachusetts back. I think we might get Indiana because the polls are all tied, and therefore within the margin of error, and Murdouch is, well, a teabagger. While Romney will win Indiana, Murdouch will end up more like Christine O'Donnell than Rand Paul. Thus, we might pick this state up.
I have Nebraska as a toss-up, while most everyone else has decided that Kerrey doesn't have a chance. No one has polled there since late spring, and things did look ominous at the time, but the Kerrey campaign has pointed out that the early polls excluded cell phones, and they believe things are closer. The first debate is next weekend, and that might help. Since this is currently Ben Nelson's seat, while the balance of power matters, in terms of actual votes, a GOP win wouldn't change how Turncoat Nelson has voted over the last several years.
Nevada and Arizona are already red Senate seats, so picking them up would only be gravy. Not impossible, but not likely.
I wish it were possible to say that Ted Cruz would lose Texas, but I don't see it. However, I believe that his win won't be the kind of landslide other Texas Republicans have enjoyed, and that his Senate tenure will help drive Texas purple over the next 4 years.
As always, your comments are encouraged.
Above is pollster.com aggregate without Rasmussen and Gallup. See explanation.
Dana Milbank frets over labels, and perhaps for good reason.
Human Rights Campaign, the nation?s largest gay rights organization, posted an alert on its blog Tuesday: ?Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group?s Annual Conference.?As a long-time supporter of the SPLC, I'm not sure how to feel about this one. Yes, the Family Research Council has said things as least as vile about the Southern Poverty Law Center and Human Rights Watch as either of those groups said about the FRC in advance of the shooting. But N-number of wrongs don't make a right, and this kind of they-hate, we-hate has a demonstrable body count. I don't think it's unilateral disarmament to request that the SPLC turn the volume down. Let's point out the crazies, not inspire them.
The ?hate group? that the Republicans? vice presidential candidate would be addressing? The Family Research Council, a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer.
Human Rights Campaign isn?t responsible for the shooting. Neither should the organization that deemed the FRC a ?hate group,? the Southern Poverty Law Center, be blamed for a madman?s act. But both are reckless in labeling as a ?hate group? a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.
Frank Bruni notes the continuing attempt to portray teachers unions as the source of all evil.
?When did Norma Rae get to be the bad guy?? asks a union leader (Holly Hunter) in the movie. I don?t know, but that?s indeed the state of play when it comes to teachers? unions, and it?s a dangerous one. ... In Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and other cities, Democratic mayors have feuded bitterly with teachers? unions and at times come to see them as enemies. And at a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in June, Democratic mayors joined Republican ones in a unanimous endorsement of so-called parent trigger legislation, about which unions have serious reservations. These laws, recently passed in only a few states but being considered in more, abet parent takeovers of underperforming schools, which may then be replaced with charter schools run by private entities.And of course, private entities operated by corporations never fail. I know, because I saw a book about it at Borders. The demonizing of teachers unions is one of the most idiotic things that's happened in a decade filled with a double-load of idiocy. That Democrats are aiding and abetting in the fairy tale casting of teachers unions as education's evil step mother is more than disheartening. It's just another demonstration of how Democrats have swallowed the rhetoric of the right when it comes to the few workers still holding even the most minor of protections from unreasonable action.
Maureen Dowd thinks Ryan is an overwhelming candidate... for an underwhelming number of people.
Howard Fineman wrote in The Huffington Post that ?Ryan turns out, upon closer inspection, not to be a purifying ideologue, but rather a young, power-hungry, ladder-climbing trimmer.? The self-styled deficit cutter backed W.?s deficit-exploding agenda, and the tut-tutting critic of the Obama stimulus grabbed for the president?s stimulus money.Paul Ryan is the embodiment of everything a modern Republican hopes to be. He talks like he cares about the nation, pockets the money at every turn, and never seems to be held accountable when his actions are 180-degrees from his words. He's the evolutionary result of processes going on in the GOP since at least 1980. Unfortunately (for Ryan and his Tea-fans) his camouflage only seems to work on Republicans.
Neocons and Tea Partyers, however, continued to rhapsodize. Grover Norquist told Bloomberg?s Al Hunt that Ryan would be the Dick Cheney of economic and tax policy. And that?s a compliment.
Ta-Nehisi Coates steps over from The Atlantic to share his amusement at the massive outbreak of whining on the right.
The wordsmith who gave us such nuanced disquisitions as ?Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America? holding forth on civility must always be greeted with raucous laughter. But Coulter was actually variegating on a theme. ...Just four years ago, Republicans decried Obama's sunny approach to the election cycle as a sign of weakness. Terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" at the election of a president who "projects weakness."
Obama is ?the most divisive, nasty, negative campaigner that this country?s ever seen,? the head of the Republican National Committee claimed, and the party?s presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, assured his followers that Obama was ?going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest negative campaign in history.?
For those of us who remember the attacks on Obama in 2008, this is a notable shift. Four years ago the book on Obama was not that he would fight dirty but that he would not fight at all.
But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012. As it turns out, the ingesting of arugula in no way interferes with one?s ability to have Osama bin Laden shot. Mitt Romney may attack Obama for ?apologizing for America? overseas. But the audience for that charge is thin. In polls, Obama consistently beats Romney on national security.The Republicans seem less than thrilled to discover that Obama won't be their punching bag in 2012. But hey, bullies never like it when someone fights back.
The New York Times spends some time outlining the Romney-Ryan trial of Medicare lies.
Republican attacks on President Obama?s plans for Medicare are growing more heated and inaccurate by the day. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made statements last week implying that the Affordable Care Act would eviscerate Medicare when in fact the law should shore up the program?s finances. Both men have also twisted themselves into knots to distance themselves from previous positions, so that voters can no longer believe anything they say. Last week, both insisted that they would save Medicare by pumping a huge amount of money into the program, a bizarre turnaround for supposed fiscal conservatives out to rein in federal spending.Republicans are just one step short of offering a free golf-cart to every citizen at the Villages. And they'll do it while balancing the budget, cutting taxes, and providing a pony for the grandkids. (Obama is keeping your grandkids from getting a free government tax-cutting pony!) They may not quite have gone there yet, but since they have already doubled back on themselves to promise an extra $700 billion or so for Medicare, while simultaneously cutting Mitt's taxes to <1%, why not add a pony? Hand delivered to every senior by Fred Thompson. It's all lies, so they might as well be fun.
Kathleen Parker gets my nod of gratitude this morning, but not because she's right.
The period of the American Revolution coincided with publication of Edward Gibbon?s ?The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? (1776), and ever since we?ve been vigilant for signs that the United States was following in Rome?s footsteps. ... Says Gracchus to Falco in ?Gladiator:?...From Gibbon to Gladitor in the space of a couple of paragraphs. Oh, the Romanity. Among her mishmash of attempts to show that we're not concerned about our freedoms because the Circus Maximus is in town, Parker notes that Joe Biden was talking to a "mixed race audience" when he made his slavery remark, which in itself is a remark that is silly enough for a jester of any age. Would she really prefer that Biden restrained these statements for a occasion safely behind a whites-only sign? Would she want there to be such events? Anyway, my gratitude goes out to Parker mostly because her Roman mashup is exactly the sort that I've written about in my Sunday essay. One that proposes games in the Colosseum, opened in 80AD, for the loss of freedoms that occurred a century earlier. She gets a "see, just like that!" credit.
And George Will says... nope. Not gonna look. Cold turkey. It's the only way.
Just think how much less trouble you'd have with trapped popcorn kernels if you only had flexible teeth.
Tom Geerinckx, an evolutionary morphologist at Ghent University in Belgium, extracted teeth from five species of scraping suckermouth catfish and analysed their composition and microstructure. He found that each tooth had a bendable section containing more collagen and significantly less calcium, phosphate and magnesium than the rest of the tooth. ... "[The] teeth are very long and skinny and they have a built-in section that's flexible. That's absolutely mind-blowing,"On the other hand, the pictures of the catfish teeth aren't particularly attractive. Maybe they also need to evolve flexible orthodonture.
Though I still prefer the Zombies version a year earlier Billy Stewart's version is lots of fun.Our plans to escape the heat yesterday never materialized, as the trains were all booked solid. At one point there were more than 600 kilometers of traffic jams in France due to summer travel, so everyone and their mother was on the road or rail. Instead, we melted a bit and eventually rounded up...
A good many young writers make the mistake
of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope,
big enough for the manuscript to come back in.
This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
Ring Lardner, Jr.
Blacklisted by the HUAC
Born August 19, 1915
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